Savannah native Flau’Jae is carving out her own legacy at only 14 years old.
The young rapper made her national television debut on Lifetime’s “The Rap Game” in 2016 as the youngest emcee on the show, which is produced by Queen Latifah and Jermaine Dupri.
At the end of May, she premiered a new song, “Guns Down,” during the audition portion of the 13th season of "America’s Got Talent." She received a standing ovation from the crowd and four yes votes from the judges, moving her on to the second round of auditions, which is set to take place late this month or early next month.
“It was a really good experience,” Flau’Jae told Do Savannah. “It was different for me. I had been on TV before, but I’ve never performed in front of an audience so big and so live. At first, I was really nervous, then I saw the crowd. It was a weight off my shoulders being able to finally tell my story the way I really wanted to tell it. To get a standing ovation from the crowd was crazy. Just to get that recognition, that was a big, big step for me.”
Flau’Jae has a legitimate pedigree as the daughter of Savannah rapper Camoflauge (Jason Akiel Johnson), who was gunned down in May 2003 outside his recording studio, Pure Pain Records. Although she wasn’t born at the time, the death of her father had an immense impact on her young life. The 21-year-old was at the beginning of a burgeoning career after he sold over 50,000 copies of his second album “I Represent,” which earned him a major label recording contract offer.
The song “Guns Down” was penned as a homage to her father and a way for the young artist to speak out publicly against gun violence, not only in her native Savannah, but around the world.
“I feel like we’re all affected by the violence in our cities,” Flau’Jae said. “People are literally dying. It’s like getting out of control. At some point, we've got to stop it. You know what I mean? I feel like everyone should speak up about it. I feel like a lot of people, they go about it different ways.
"Hearing it from a child, hearing it from somebody who is younger and was hurt from this, I think it will help people understand, 'Wow, this has really affected little people and kids around the world; maybe we should put the guns down.'”
Flau’Jae isn’t just putting out socially conscious music to make a name for herself. She’s backing up what she says with action. Her latest initiative, Tragedy To Triumph, focuses on stopping gun violence in Savannah. She recently received recognition from the city of Savannah, as well. Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell and Alderman Van Johnson presented Flau’Jae with the key to the city and declared June 23 Camoflauge Day, in honor of her slain father.
“I really want to start a campaign to raise awareness about everything going on,” Flau’Jae said. “I feel like everyone knows what’s going on, but we've got to do something about it. Helping in the community and even helping around the world. That’s what I want to do. That’s the main goal.
“We have some big things planned in the community to help with my campaign. Getting the key to the city was amazing. I know he’s proud," she said of her father.
"I feel like, I have more to accomplish. I know that he’s proud with what I’ve done just starting out. I feel like, it’s one thing to be part of a legacy, but fulfilling that legacy is a whole different ballgame. I am really blessed to be able to do that, to step into his shoes and try to finish what he started.”
While she waits to hear from "America’s Got Talent" and the second round of auditions, Flau’Jae is not wasting her time. Along with her new initiative, she’s recording with plans to release new music soon.
“A lot of new music will be dropping,” Flau’Jae said. “I am working with some big names in the game. I am trying to finish things that I have started with my guns-down campaign, Tragedy to Triumph, and I am just trying to do a lot in the community and city. There’s a lot of things I can’t speak about right now, but I am really going to make Savannah and my dad proud.”